Dynamics of cooked food vending in Kayole location, Nairobi county, Kenya
Maroko, Rita A.
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Rapid growth of urban population has been accompanied with growth in urban poverty mostly due to high rates of unemployment. This has in turn caused development of informal sector to generate income and provide essential goods and services. Cooked food vending or street food provision is one such service provided by the informal sector in urban areas. This study examined the dynamics of cooked food vending in Kayole location, Nairobi County. The study investigated factors contributing towards cooked food vending; both from the vendor and vendee perspective. To determine the factors contributing to cooked food vending, the study evaluated the socio- economic characteristics of the vendors and the vendees, analyzed benefits of cooked food vending and finally identified challenges facing the practice. Data was collected from a sample of 83 cooked food vendors and 89 cooked food vendees from the study area using stratified random sampling. The research design employed was a descriptive survey with the use of a questionnaire and key informants interviews to collect both qualitative and quantitative data. The quantitative data from the study area were entered into the computer spreadsheets and analyzed using statistical package for social sciences. The data analysis showed that cooked food vending largely benefits the low-income earners and the unemployed. Income rather than level of education was the most important factor that determines choice to become a food vendor. This sector provides employment and is an important source of food for many. Government agencies do not provide support but rather are extractive agencies that collect revenue from the food vendors and harass the food vendors through arrests. The study thus recommends change in government approach ways of handling the sector and encourages self-regulation to address some of the challenges experienced in the sector.